Rambling Syd Rumpo - tells it like it is again


It's the video you can watch of Burnley stuffing Leeds United and Revie 4-1 at Elland Road in 1974. Three of the Burnley goals are shown, one of them being the overhead bicycle kick by Fletch from which point on Leeds were never in it. It was voted goal of the decade for the 70s period.

Revie is shown squirming and moaning and grimacing, always enjoyable to watch and the whole thing was part of a Yorkshire TV documentary about him. Yorkshire could hardly have imagined they'd film this drubbing.

This leads nicely for me to tell you that Fletch did a really kind thing by the way for one Burnley fan and his two very young lads. They had all been to Bradford and for genuine reasons the dad wanted to get his little lads out of the crushed, manic, upper tier and into the calm of the empty lower tier. Of course the Neanderthal stewards intervened and told him he'd have to go back up and they'd find him three separate seats where they could all sit apart.

Now one of these little lads was just SIX years old. The dad rightly refused and sat down with the lads (by now crying at the arguing going on) and asked for a supervisor. Then he asked for the police. You can't sit down 'ere' said the numbskull stewards again, we'll find you three separate seats upstairs. The police showed immediate common sense and allowed them to sit down in the lower tier. On hearing of all this, Fletch arranged for the dad and lads to meet himself, and the team and manager Coyle, before the home game against Inverness.

Syd was quietly pleased that Rangers were knocked out of the first round of the UEFA Cup, and by some piddling little club we'd never even heard of. The knock-on effect is that Walter Smith's position at Rangers must come under some scrutiny now that the season's income is cut disastrously.

How does he pay for Kyle Lafferty me and Syd are wondering? Will a new manager rate Lafferty as highly as Walter Smith? Will Lafferty's career be put on ice under a new manager? Would a Continental manager have even heard of Lafferty?

Me and Syd were not among the many folk who were unable to get into the home friendly against Inverness. The few Ness fans who were there, will I suppose, go home and tell their grandchildren in years to come that they were at the Turf when Thistle attracted a crowd so big that not everyone could get in. On Weakest Link it will become a tough new question 'what happened at Turf Moor when Inverness played there in 2008?'

Me and Syd were at the cash turnstile at about 25 to 3 and there wasn't a hint of a queue. But within minutes there were no tickets, no loose change, no chance of getting in without a ticket, and dozens of folk thought 'sod this for a bunch of soldiers' and went home thoroughly dischuffed.

Then when a horde (small) of fans were able to rush in through the doors, kindly opened for them by a fan who had got in, six heroic stewards repelled boarders, beat them back, and closed the doors again. Not quite in the same league as the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae but it must have been fun to watch all the same.

I noticed that on the back of stewards' jackets it says 'here to assist'. Syd asked one of them would he do our shopping next week, and iron our shirts, but got no answer. On the back of Bradford jackets I hear they are going to have 'we are here to be as unhelpful as possible'. At least with that, we know where we stand.

Syd is upset: There was a feature on the Sun's webpage about Burnley, well not really about Burnley, but we got a mention. And not for the best of reasons either. In a poll we came out as the sixth most disliked club. In order of merit were Leeds United, Manchester United, Chelsea, Wolves, Millwall and then Burnley. Syd can understand all of these bar Wolves, what have they ever done to be unpopular? And little Burnley of course, we thought we were one of everyone's favourites, on account of our long traditions and our 'club next door' image. Rochdale fans don't like us, Stockport, Leeds maybe, Blackburn of course, but what have we ever done to upset anyone else? Apparently when Leeds learned the results of the survey they were said to be shocked.

What's happened to names? Syd got a copy of the Glentoran programme and read through the pages about players who had come to Burnley. There was an Ezekial Johnston in 1894 who was quite eccentric and sometimes came out of his goal and swapped round with one of the defenders and even changed shirts. Ezekial - what a name; they don't make 'em like that any more.

Then there was Tommy Morrison and his nickname was 'Ching' although he came via Celtic. He took his nickname from a famous Chinese acrobat of the time. William Emerson came from Glentoran for just two seasons. A normal enough name but he had had two mates called Scraggs and Ferret. Morrison, by the way, came to Glentoran from a club called Owen O' Cork. Lovely names aren't they. The best home grown player with a grand name was always to my mind Albert Cheesebrough.

What will they think of next I said to Syd when I heard that the Red Devils would be dropping in for the first home game to deliver the match ball? Perhaps it's the best way to get to see a game if you're worried about getting in after the fiasco of the Inverness friendly.

Someone also asked Syd about the Health and safety implications. Syd expressed the view that it wouldn't be much fun if a sudden gust of wind blew one of these guys into the stand and into your lap. Anyway, it's all good fun - parachutes, a bloke dressed up as a seven foot bee, fireworks, cheerleaders, goal music - it's all a long way away from a 1950s brass band.

Well, Syd wrote that bit the night before the lads dropped in. Never in my wildest dreams could I have thought that one of them would actually land on the roof. But that's what he did, smack bang on the Cricket Field roof. Only at Burnley I hear you say. Then it was decided that the game would be delayed while they got him down. Then they announced after 45 minutes they'd got him down (but they hadn't) and the game would start. So the game started with this guy still up on the roof. "So why couldn't we bloody start at 3.00 then," said Syd. It seemed a fair enough question to me. As the game progressed he was taken down by the emergency services. Watching that was far more entertaining than the game, by the way. Jeff Stelling on Sky Soccer Saturday was on form and announced that the bloke had been booked for descent.

"Somebody should be writing a diary of THIS season," said Syd. "Damn right." "We had the Inverness pantomime, then the parachute pantomime and then the own goals pantomime, the last goal of the day a cert for the next bloopers video when Jordan beautifully lobbed the ball over the advancing Jensen's head. By that time I was too depressed to apportion blame.

And then when Caldwell hit the post with a superb thumping header in the last minutes it just kind of summed up the day. I hear there are two books due out next year, one on Burnley Trivia from Breedon, and then Tim Quelch's book of the 1959/60 season due in August if all goes to plan. Plus Syd working on a biography of one of THE legends that has yet to be announced officially, so there ain't room for a diary of the season as well.

But, I just have the feeling that that if the first home game of the season is anything to go by, we are in for a rough old year. Writing a diary of a season that included the longest winless run in club history was depressing enough. To write one of a relegation season would just about send Syd over the edge I think.

It's early days, very early days but… you have to ask questions of a team that can't win against 9 men especially when it is for most of the second half of a game. What sort of a system are we playing? Does anyone understand what the formation is? Is Eagles a flash in the pan? Does he flatter to deceive? Can you play Blake, Elliott and Eagles in the same team? Where was Mahon again?

What's happened to the early spin about two widemen getting to the by-line and getting crosses over? We do not have a team that is going to be anywhere near the play-offs but they can do better than this with the right formation and we have the players to play an effective 4-4-2. But basic problems have still not been addressed - the need for a good right back who can overlap and get up and down the wing; and an effective forward who can get up and really head a ball. That means playing Eagles wide left.

It's not football/Burnley I know but did you see that toe-curling, cringeworthy London contribution to the Olympics closing ceremony? Well yes maybe it was football-linked since it featured David 'air-miles' Beckham kicking a football into the crowd below. Never can 8 minutes have been so embarrassing after the splendours of what the Chinese provided. OK, notwithstanding all the rights and wrongs of the Chinese regime and suppression of any dissidents (the girl singer, by the way, was miming because the real girl singer with the beautiful voice was deemed too ugly to appear) they did put on a super show that no other nation on earth will be able to match.

So what did our 8 minute slot do? We had some dancers (writhing about like zombies), a zebra crossing, a little girl, a geriatric guitarist; a god-awful female singer dressed in gold bacofoil and perched on top of a 10 foot pole, and a load of umbrellas. And could anybody hear the words of whatever song it was? When Beckham rose up on a platform out of the bus grinning, I nearly fell off the sofa laughing at the sheer dire, abysmal, dreadfulness of it. If this is a foretaste of our opening ceremony then we shall be a laughing stock.

I have the perfect idea for our opening ceremony in 2012 - mass Morris Dancing. Yes, you heard it here first… 5000 Morris dancers all doing their stuff, brilliant. This would be followed by 5,000 Chas and Dave look-alikes singing away. And then… and then… the Grande Finale… a mass drop by the Red Devils with lots of them landing on the roof. Syd would like to hear any more ideas you might have. And who would light the Olympic flame… Ken Dodd would be my choice.